As The Planet went to press June 18, the Sierra Club continued to push the
Clinton administration -- notably the all but invisible vice president -- to hold
firm and support the clean air standards for smog and soot proposed by the
Environmental Protection Agency last fall. A decision is expected before
Congress' summer recess.
The Sierra Club has been generating thousands of letters and calls to the
White House in favor of the standards and taking the case to the media. Kathryn
Hohmann, the Club's director of environmental quality, gained press coverage
with her recent "Where's Al?" tour of New England -- where she called on the vice
president to come out for the air standards.
Industry-backed opposition has pumped millions of dollars into a media
campaign portraying stronger emissions standards as a "costly rush to judgment"
and an assault on the backyard grill. In June, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and
52 House Democrats presented a letter to Congress in support of the EPA
proposal; signatories blasted industry for "mounting a multi-million-dollar
propaganda campaign to frighten and confuse the public on the standards." More
recently, Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ron Klink (D-Penn.) responded with a
letter of their own that proposes delaying EPA clean air standards for five
Meanwhile, the Clinton administration has been absent from the fray and,
instead, is backing off substantially from the tougher EPA standards by seeking
to soften allowable emissions violations in cities from three to eight per year.
But agency chief Carol Browner has indicated she is standing by the EPA's
"There's still time to let the president and vice president know that the
American public has the right to breathe healthy air," said Hohmann. "After all,
we can't breathe the money!"
To take action:
Call the Club Legislative Hotline for up-to-the-minute details
at (202) 675-2394.
Up to Top